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S. John Ross
Be Excellent To Each Other
Be Excellent To Each Other


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Hi there! I'm S. John Ross, and this is my G+ feed, focused (mainly) on announcements related to my digital publishing outfit, Cumberland Games & Diversions (+ the Cumberland Fontworks). If you know my name, it might be from games, fonts, or the odd cooking article, or you may have me confused with someone you knew in high school, but that's not me (I'm slightly taller). Email and clicky things:

Contact Me

Cumberland Games & Diversions

CG&D Guidelines for Freelance RPG Writers

Cumberland Fontworks

Risus: The Anything RPG

Uresia: Grave of Heaven

Encounter Critical

HexPaper Pro

Sparks Paper Miniatures

Redbubble Poster-Maps and Things

Books at Lulu

The Blue Room (My Homepage)

RPGs: Art and Craft (My Blog)

A Quick Bio

I'm "Temphis" on DeviantArt

What I Love in RPGs: The S. John Version

A Few Thoughts About RPG Writing

Are you an RPG Publisher? I Offer A Very Special Service

Freelance RPG Writing Rates
I used to be the Most Expensive Writer in Gaming (not because I wanted more money; because I wanted publishers to stop bothering me), but then I realized I kind of miss freelancing (sometimes) and I care a lot more about how interesting the gig is than how much it pays, so make me an offer, and make it interesting.

Freelance RPG Cartography Rates
I care about what this stuff pays, but interesting still helps. $400 for a full-page map/plan is the starting point, multiplied and divided according to the details. Vector and (600dpi full-color) raster work available. All rights.

If you know me more for my GURPS or Star Trek work or Discordian writings who-knows-what-else (does anyone really know me from my days as a videogame journalist? I know I don't) you can poke around and find pages about those things, too. But if you've found this page, you've found the closest thing I've got to a public Social Media thing, so: hi there! Check in now and then; I post Cumberland-related updates at least monthly, and more social-media style posts on an unpredictable schedule based on how grouchy I feel.
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Got an email today ... from a guy who runs a properly wackadoo religious website (the kind with a thousand images on the front page and giant red fonts and "end times" and the whole nine wackadoo yards), who thought I was the illustrator(!) of the original Illuminati card game(!), wanting to know about the research I'd done into sorcery, black magic and Cthulhu, and whether Steve Jackson and I were channeling spirits.

I almost hated to let him down. On a good many things, not the least of which is my absolute inability to render a Goldfish Fancier.

I hope he writes back to ask about GURPS Warehouse 23 or better still, A Kringle in Time. I mean, I have got material for wackadoo religious websites to froth over, if that's what they want.
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Music is very mood-specific for me, for most music and for most moods ... but in just about any moment of my life, the guitar solo from Watermelon in Easter Hay will inspire me to stop, listen, and drift to wherever that music wants to take me. #Zappa
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That said, my old joke is still true: my two actual favorite videogames are Photoshop and Excel (well, Calc nowadays).
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Excerpted from a thread by +Mz Maau and posted here because what the hell I wasted an hour in a spreadsheet doing this so I may as well: My 55 Favorite Computer/Video Games (Compressing Series Into Single Entries and Quietly Omitting ToaSK For The Sake of Good Manners) In More-Or-Less Alphabetical Order:

Advance Wars series
Angry Birds series (esp the first few)
Begin, A Tactical Starship Simulator
Bookworm (original and DS versions)
Burnout Paradise
Choplifter (original coin-op only)
Chopper Commando
Chrono Trigger
Civilization series
Counterfeit Monkey
Defense Grid 2
Diablo (original only)
Dishonored series
Donkey Kong Country platformers
Doom (original two only)
Ecco the Dolphin
Elder Scrolls series (esp Morrowind)
Elevator Action (original only)
Eric the Unready
Fallout series (both series, though I consider them unrelated)
Forza Horizon series
Giana Sisters DS
Grand Theft Auto series
Infocom library (esp Leather Goddesses of Phobos, Journey, Wishbringer, and Beyond Zork)
Interplay D&D games (Baldur's/Icewind/Torment)
Kingdom Rush series
Lemmings (original only)
Lost Pig
Lost Vikings games
LucasArts graphic adventures (esp. Full Throttle)
Mario Kart series (esp Mario Kart DS)
Mentula Macanus: Apocolocyntosis
Metroid platformer series
Pinball FX2
Plants vs. Zombies series (esp the original)
Portal series
Prey (the one from Arkane)
Prince of Persia (original only)
Professor Layton series
San Francisco Rush 2049
Scribblenauts (original only)
Panel De Pon family of games (esp Puzzle League on GBA)
SimCity series
Solar Jetman
Star Wars (wireframe coin-op, original only)
Super Mario platformers of the 80s and 90s
Superhero League of Hoboken
Tetris (several versions)
Thief series (excluding the shitty reboot)
Torchlight (original only)

I'm currently still playing through Red Dead Redemption and Bully but it feels like they'll make the list once I'm done (the console I have now is actually the very first current console I've ever had in my life, so I'm catching up on games from prior console generations that I wasn't previously able to borrow or emulate).

And to anyone who looked at my list and said "OMG LEMMINGS I FORGOT LEMMINGS," let me just say: How dare you forget Lemmings. They have it bad enough as it is.
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Is that just a hint of chill in the air? Snuggle up in your sweaters and jackets, watch the foliage crinkle in warm hues as the ground beneath it turns cold, and wrap your gaming mitts around a welcoming mug of Risus, because it's that time of year again. Available for just a little while, just long enough to make sure you're feeling cozy, it's Risus: Pumpkin Spice Edition, because with just a hint of cinnamon and the heady flavor of gourd, there's no tradition like a shameless one. #RisusRPG #Autumn #ShameFree #AlsoRegularFree
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Palette-building for the new generation of Points in Space maps (ship deckplans, dirtside stations, yet-more starport-locations and so on). Where possible, I'm letting the original color-scheme guide the new one, but I'm also more precisely tuning it for the intended function of the maps (printing them out on a home printer for use with minis), which means tuning for:

► Clear contrast between elements
► Clear identities for elements with minimal clutter or detail
► Going easy on the #@!$ toner when possible
► Clear visibility of the grid over all elements
All of the above maintained with no loss when reduced to grayscale

To that end, only a tiny few of these colors will make the cut (along with other hopefuls from other broad sets). This comes back to a production point I'm always growling about: have a clear target (in this case, the home printer) and things get both easier and better. It's a running joke with me that "I pick the colors that look nice in gray" but it's literally true. That's how the look of Uresia evolved, too ... the pages had to look nice printed gray.

After I've nailed the palette into place, I can start on the fun part: building the new symbol set, with all the space-beds and space-chairs and ladderwells and lifts and blah-blah-spacey-blah. These, again, will take strong cues from the original look of Points, but with the benefit of another seventeen years (yeesh, I hate typing that) of graphics experience (and the playtest runs for Don't F*ck With An Earthman, which is how the earlier ship-maps have been used most heavily in recent years ... remember when I'd occasionally mention that, so long ago? Sigh ... ).
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Gliddy glub gloopy
Nibby nabby noopy
La la la lo lo

#Hair #StuckInMyHead #Ironic
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I will eventually learn this lesson: never leave comments open while I'm asleep.
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Tonight's itinerary. #Dishonored #HeyOutsider #Boom
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